The Canadian voters have just sent a message against NAFTA. I hope Republican Congressmen are listening so they don’t have to suffer the fate of Canadian Conservatives.
A recent letter signed by a dozen Republican Congressmen, and apparently mailed to various conservative organizations, attempts to explain why those Congressmen support NAFTA. The letter is unpersuasive.
Their first argument is, free trade is wonderful. But, if the purpose of NAFTA were free trade, that could have been accomplished in a couple of pages calling for a reduction or elimination of tariffs by a date certain.
So why does the NAFTA treaty contain more than a thousand pages?
Because cutting tariffs is not the real purpose, that’s why.
Henry Kissinger explained the real purpose of NAFTA in an op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times:“NAFTA is not a conventional trade agreement but the architecture of a new international system. It will represent the most creative step toward a new world order taken by any group of countries since the end of the Cold War.”
The American people don’t want a “new international system.” We just tried one new international system under the United Nations in Somalia, and it turned out rather badly. We’re not ready for another.
Continuing, Henry Kissinger was more specific: “A regional Western Hemisphere organization dedicated to democracy and free trade would be a first step toward the new world order so frequently cited but so rarely implemented.”
So, now we know that NAFTA is not just a trade agreement, but an “organization dedicated to democracy” as well as to free trade. It is clear that NAFTA has political as well as economic objectives.
The second argument of the dozen Republican Congressmen is that free trade is fundamental to Ronald Reagan-style conservatism.
However, NAFTA would bring about an explosion in big government through three-nation commissions, councils, secretariats, tribunals, review boards, and panels. That kind of unaccountable bureaucracy is certainly not Reagan-style conservatism.
The congressmen’s third argument attempts to answer critics who charge that NAFTA’s side agreements would allow foreign countries to control U.S. domestic policies. The Congressmen answer that “the commission can only deal with failures of a country to enforce its own laws.”
Did you hear that right? If we don’t enforce, for example, our own oppressive Clean Air Act (which certainly ought to be amended to reduce its massive cost burden), a Mexican commission will “deal with [our] failure”? You have to be kidding! Mexico should not have any authority whatsoever to “deal with” our alleged failure to enforce our own laws.
The Congressmen then say, Don’t worry because this language in the side agreements is only “hortatory” and “contains no legal mechanism” for enforcement.
Let’s get this straight. The 12 Republican Congressmen admit in their letter that the NAFTA side agreements call for the environmental commission to see to it that we enforce existing laws, but they want us to overlook that because NAFTA’s commissions can’t enforce what NAFTA says.
Sorry, Congressmen, we are not reassured. If and when NAFTA becomes part of U.S. law, activist U.S. federal judges can and will enforce it.
If NAFTA goes through, the hard-pressed taxpayers will pay the costs, and government bureaucrats and the multinationals who deal in subsidized exports will reap the profits. NAFTA will be a repeat of the scandal in our agricultural “trade.”
In the 1980s, the federal government gave taxpayer guarantees to foreign purchasers of American agricultural products. This was supposed to help the beleaguered farmers bolster farm exports and increase the U.S. share of the world’s agricultural markets.
Now we know that more than half of the payouts of taxpayers’ money went to four multinational corporations, two of which are based in Europe. Among the many abuses were these: $4 billion went for agricultural gifts to Iran and Iraq just before the Gulf War; the program included numerous “bribe funds” to pay off foreigners for whom bribery is an ordinary way of doing business; and significant amounts went for foreign tobacco imported and then disguised as “American” exports.
Alfred Eckes, chairman of the International Trade Commission under President Reagan, said: “NAFTA is a classic example of how unelected officials can employ treaties and international agreements to modify the United States Constitution without the approval of three-fourths of the state legislatures and two-thirds of Congress.”
Across the United states, it is very difficult to find anyone who supports NAFTA who is not an employee of government, the media, or the big multinational corporations. NAFTA ranks with the Panama Canal giveaway in 1978 and the International Monetary Fund bailout of 1983 as watershed events that pit the elite insiders against the American people.